Codes

Serel wore a mask. He spoke to a virtual audience on News-Order.com. It was a safe news outlet because it reported the Fake along with the Real, no one bothered to distinguish between the two.

“The clock demands my attention as it stares down at me from the corner of my mind. The chip in my head keeps time. Years unwind like a coiled spring in an antique watch. My one true friend has escaped to the land of the dying sun, but I stayed behind. I’m here, behind a firewall, trying to conceal my identity. My Avatar has replaced me in the real world, playing the fool.”

They put old Serel in a home. He wasn’t really old, but he was labeled dangerous so they called him “old” and put him in a safe place. It wasn’t to keep Serel safe; it was to protect the public from Serel.

New edicts were being signed everyday by the fictive leader. Alt-facts were dressed up as truth. New rules were let loose like wild boars to rend and tear the flesh of dissenters. Serel refused to cooperate. He accurately reported what he observed. He was a distraction. He helped brain-washed denizens escape their mental prisons.

Serel wondered how his Avatar was coping. His Avatar took the brunt of the assault while Serel hid behind a firewall. He was very young when everything started to fall apart. When he was six-years-old, Serel had his own podcast and he appeared on TV talk shows. It made him an instant celebrity, but it did not help his current situation. For a short time, he was a scientist, trying to decipher the codes that bombarded earth from space. Serel grappled with semiotics and hidden meanings hoping to find solutions, answers to the current crisis. The firewall was a barrier, separating Serel from the results of his research. The crisis became catastrophe.

Devonna was Serel’s companion. She helped with the translation. The codes were stitched onto her brown skin. The codes were coming alive, crawling across her naked body like neon spiders. Truths slowly slipped from the coil of her mortality, but before anything could be revealed she was arrested for indecent exposure. Devonna was taken to the rehabilitation ward. Plastic surgeons slowly removed her coded skin. A lobotomy was scheduled, but she avoided detection once her skin was removed. Her body was covered with white gauze and she faded into the walls of the facility, escaping into the land of the dying sun.

The Celebrity-leader became suspicious of people who no longer boosted his ratings. A new edict was put into effect banning people from public discourse. Everyone was encouraged to leave their troubles behind and join the fictive worlds of Virtuality. Some dissidents were arrested and confined in mind-altering prisons.

Serel discovered the Apparatus on the Sixth Level of Quadrant Zero. The Apparatus created the virtual world where people gorged themselves on excess and vice. The Apparatus contained the codes that controlled reality and it bore the names of the Illuminati. Codes slipped through Serel’s fingers, dripping like gold dust transforming into vipers.

The firewall protected the Apparatus, but it also increased alienation. The wall was a barricade between life and death. The automatic clock lit up in a blinding flash, ticking away the instances that marked the limits of life.

Serel discovered he had to destroy everything. His life’s work had to be decimated if he was to survive and move to the next progression. The Apparatus churned out facts, multiple facts to meet any circumstance or situation. His lover left, or was abducted… same story, different circumstances… a line drawn in the sand leaving him bereft.

The codes held the answers: how to create worlds… how to escape… how to ascend.

codes

 

 

Smash

“At first there was the hum of the machine: a constant buzz and yammering, voices in my head: TV news, commercials, and pleas for money.”

The psychiatrist was attentive. He spoke with the thunder of boom and bluster, “I understand you need help. Recent traumas have had a negative effect. But… I sense there is more. I believe you are fundamentally flawed. You are dealing with several different personalities, all residing in the same corpus.”

The screen went dark. On the other side of the wall a political rally was dividing the country. An Angel appeared: a flash of light too brief to be noticed. There were others, but they were as silent as shadows fading into the wall.

Dieter Rosenquist was sedated, recovering from a recent fall that split open his forehead. Modern science sealed the wound and put him on the path to recovery. He lay on his newly purchased, massive bed that rose up and lowered with the touch of a button. Dieter had his I-pad and I-phone to keep him company. The computers revealed the world through filters and fake news reports. Dieter was ninety-two, quickly approaching his Year of Ascension when he would receive his first pair of angel wings. He was ready. He had seen enough of the Twenty-First Century and the New World Order. Dieter already felt the flutter of wings as he settled into a virtual healing session with Godfather Ken, the spokesperson for Cthulhu on Earth.

Readers may remember Cthulhu as a character in H.P. Lovecraft novels from 100 years ago. Of course, time no longer has any significance. Time was declared irrelevant by the President of the Apprentice Nation. Who am I to judge… I’m just an obedient reporter working for the Cthulhu contingency of Alien Observers.

Dieter awoke with a jolt of electricity and immediately left his old body behind. He climbed into a golden chariot. The self-driving Behemoth took him to Sound-Stage Eleven, the lap of luxury, where he would encounter Terpsichord Renatta. Terpsichord was a mash-up, a mix of characters from Dieter’s past. Tonight she/he represented a fling in the hay and a love-gone-wrong. As ever, Renatta was stunning beyond belief, optimized with alluring filters. It was an explosive experience being in his/her close proximity. They were attending the inauguration of television’s most vaunted celebrity.

The party was just beginning. On the surface everything was orderly and precise. The event proceeded without a hitch, but something peculiar stirred in the depths. Tersichord was not allowed to use the bathroom of his choice. Dieter was bleeding profusely. The Orange Guard infiltrated local communities. Church leaders were seen taking bribes and kissing ass. Real news was banned. Pussy grabbing was all the rage.

The confusion began with a crash on the 405. It could have been a hit-and-run that resulted in a misstep, a terrible tumble. One moment Dieter was driving his car and the next instant he was sliding into oblivion. He skimmed the Event Horizon and fell through a Black Hole. He thought he saw the face of God: tentacles screaming out of the void… a momentary flash of orange hair in a comb-over.

The President tweeted about a new TV event, a Network Spectacular. The name of the show was, Smash, and the whole world was encouraged to attend. The Billionaires Club hosted the Virtual Extravaganza. Party favors were delivered by drones to every household in the country. Dieter received an AK47 signed by the President. Corporations provided chemically infused fast food, a feast of enormous proportions. Arenas and Pleasure-Domes were packed to overflowing. The event began with patriotic songs and a parade of unemployed workers from coal mines and   uranium fields. Crowds cheered as gladiators were forced to perform Herculean tasks. Consumer goods were praised. Russian roulette and other games-of-chance were promoted by celebrity shills. Nothing was too devious, crass, or outrageous. Television ratings soared. A war ravaged world watched in shock and awe.

The men and one woman at the Billionaire’s Club watched and laughed. Smash generated Trillions. Attention was focused on the violence perpetrated by the hordes attending the event. Everyone was fascinated. No one was complaining. the masses were subdued. Members of the Club laughed like hyenas ripping apart a corrupt carcass.

Cthulu also watched; enormous, bloated and vengeful, Cthulu rose up from the darkest depths, blotting out the sky, devouring the universe… all the while laughing, always laughing (the hum… constant buzz and yammering… a sound like the shredding of entrails).

The land of the dying sun was not far away. The white-gold disc glowed softly behind a curtain of mist. A woman lay on a hospital bed refusing to give-in to the doctor’s diagnosis: old, beyond years, but still beautiful… still ferocious… a face to be reckoned with… facing life and death. Everyone else faded away like gauze, ghosts in the fog. Nothing mattered anymore. Cthulu and the others receded into the background. The Angel lingered briefly and vanished. Virtual Realities evaporated, as insubstantial as tissue. She wondered if she was crazy… and why nothing made sense. Commercials still intruded: TV voices hammered, but no longer threatened. The beasts lost their teeth. Machine-men, doctors and nurses, hovered around the patient like sentinels… prophesying death. But, she smiled, happy to be done with the overwrought world of men… Glad to be in the land of the dying sun.

 

Excerpt from “New Jerusalem”

This is David Oblivion reporting from the basement of a deserted building in New Jerusalem. I’m tired and hungry. I’ve been running for three days. I’m trying to escape the future. I am able to send these messages due to an anomaly, a black-hole called Queer-time. Listen up… I am sending messages, images and stories from the future, your future… and, no, it isn’t a pretty “Norman Rockwell” picture… and, it isn’t the future Donny Trumpit predicted: the Global Utopia of Family Values, full employment, and the American flag. A friend once called this Queer-time a human manufactured Rapture… but, in fact, no one appears to be going to heaven. Instead, we are living in hell.

The internet has been banned; but it can’t be stopped. It seeded itself from simple viruses that were used to infest computers. The result was the birth of monsters. The Net has become self-aware and ubiquitous… capriciously sliding between power brokers, helping or destroying on a whim… but, always seeding itself and creating more monsters. The little war the U.S. started in Iraq never stopped… it spread to Syria … fueled by religious fanatics and Russian avarice. Our President’s Russian ties earned him billions while the country sank into a swamp of corruption that spread to the Net, becoming part of the Net, fed by corporations and mega-industries. America has become New Jerusalem… born of the internet!

America, “that shinning city on the hill” — now, we live in enclaves and barricaded communities… or in hovels and abandoned buildings. People stay indoors because the streets are too dangerous. War exists everywhere. Most people are plugged into the Net discovering virtual worlds and virtual pleasures. Nothing is safe. Spy Eyes are everywhere… bugs, on search and destroy missions, are relentless. Many enclaves must submit to the New Puritans. There are many powerful missionary groups that demand compliance to the “Word of God.” Missionaries use the internet for their own purpose, to ensnare unsuspecting “sinners” into virtual porn-palaces where their minds are dismembered and cannibalized. People no longer care about the dangers because the Net offers the only pleasurable distraction in a world where there is no place to escape.

Sometimes, demons roam the streets in search of targets to pick off like ducks in a shooting gallery. They go to deserted warehouses or back-alley bars and hunt for prey; or they sign-up for the war where it is easier to get weapons and where there are rewards for hunting and killing. War makes all things possible. A demon can become an officer and help mold a policy of rape and torture. A demon in a uniform can influence the minds of impressionable youth… and sucker the “poor” into fighting the war for the “rich.”

The only hope lies with the artists and poets of The Manifest, an underground group struggling to reveal the truth. As a member, my life is in jeopardy. I’m being hunted. At any moment …”  Screen goes dark and Gunshots ring out.

new-jerusalen

Buyer’s Remorse

Morton Sedlack retreated to a VR Pongo-Parlor in an attempt to stop time. Reality had become too much, penetrating his soft-core defenses like a Bazooka — his brain was torn to shreds — dangling from a precipice of double-speak politics and redacted information.

Morton was no longer young. He used to be Tom Selleck ranging across some tropical island like the indomitable “Magnum P.I.” It didn’t last. Nothing lasts. Everything expires in a breathe of sordid self pity. Morton commiserated, “life sucks when you are 75, stuck in a corporate utopia, and strong-armed by a political hack.” There was nowhere to go but down to the depths of clown hell. Entertainment-for-All was the new mantra as people were rounded up and shipped off to “holiday camps.” It was televised for the viewing pleasure of the new majority. The new system generated money for the first family along with selected TV producers and magnates of industry.

One happy man was at the center of attention while people chanted, “he’s the man with the plan. He tweets and twitters about all his jitters… and no one can complain when they get a free ride on the Happy Land train.”

The masses were sedated with TV happenstance and Virtual Reality, but buyer’s remorse was beginning to set in. There were high taxes, lower incomes, and the remorse over lost jobs. Frustration was at an all time high. Why were the Aliens taking over? The country was in crisis. Segments of the population were pitted against one another. In the end there was a re-count. The kerfuffle was all about entertainment… and ratings were never higher.

Morton was paralyzed with remorse. He just bought a new car to escape the encroaching mass hysteria, but the car was a lemon and the ads for better cars kept shooting up his brain like poison darts. He recently broke up with his boyfriend over an issue of mistaken identity. There were fistacuffs over a man named, Donnie. Morton was easily confused. He worried about dementia. Was Donnie his unfaithful boyfriend who hooked up with Kellyann, a striptease artist who sold drugs for chump change?

Hannibal Lecter sat with the former Entertainment Mogul sipping non-alcoholic cocktails in the Titanium-Lounge where the virtual Russian Embassy was located. The children stood around silently staring at their powerful father, the new executive director of the nation. They were pretty children who invested heavily in their father’s vision of a new world. The mogul spoke with confidence, “we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but I like your style.” Lecter grimaced, “I did all I could to help you win.”

“I know. I think you are great and I want to reward you!”

“Not necessary,” Lecter remarked, “you have already given me your support in my reclaiming many small, petty states that are rightfully ours.”

“Not enough for all you’ve done. I certainly appreciate the flattery you’ve lauded on me. You are a man of great authority.”

Lecter beamed, “thank you, Mr. President. There is no one quite like you. I loved your TV series.”

“I still own the rights. Still making lots of money! I want you to know that I’m one of your greatest fans. Loved the photo of you riding a horsey with your upper torso exposed. Quite manly. I’m proud to give you a another gift of my appreciation. They are yours!” President Mogul pointed to his beautiful family who were overwhelmed with deep seeded fear.

Hannibal clapped his hands with glee and licked his lips.

Morton Sedlack hit triple Pongo. All his dreams were coming true. His new boyfriend stayed by his side even as he was slipping into post-traumatic shock. They were together riding in the new, “Magnum – Self Driving Car.” It was a home on wheels. There was no longer a need for a stationary residence where people were stuck forever, rooted to one spot. Society was now totally mobile and digitally connected. Everyone was moving… running… trying to escape. Morton was quietly napping in his capsule. He was surrounded by entertainment … surrounded by love.

Morton’s brain was split. It was standard procedure. He was placed in the capsule for security reasons. He was, at last, happy.

remorse

Balbek Made It Happen!

The email scandal caused the election to slip and slide leading to the inauguration of Balbek, the new leader. Balbek was a celebrity. Some said he was a business man. Others said he was a comedian.

Jeff Sumak sat enraptured before the screens in a Virtual Chatter-Cafe. The screens told the glorious story of Balbek. Orlow Fabricatum, the reporter from “Future Lies” took notes. The reporter interjected remarks that dripped like acid from the proboscis of a fly, “Balbek is a virtual conceit, not a real person at all.” Jeff was dismayed. He had faith in the new leader.

Everything depended on the wall-of-secrecy meant to keep out invaders. Balbek claimed the nation was crumbling due to alien invasions. He vowed to correct past mistakes and make everything great again. Jeff dissolved inside himself recalling past mistakes.

Jeff was an angry man. He was recently laid off from his lucrative management position and forced to work part time. His girlfriend left him for another man. His condo needed repairs he couldn’t afford. It was all the fault of big government: there were too many bureaucrats with their fingers in the pie. Government was a thief – stealing from people like him to pay for healthcare, welfare, roads, and schools. It was all a boondoggle as far as Jeff was concerned. Newly elected Vern Balbek promised salvation from the problems facing the nation. Jeff was encouraged by this new patriot, a business man with a plan for real change.

The first major change had nothing to do with Jeff’s primary concerns, but it aimed at improving the nation: babies were given voting rights. The new laws were designed to support the family and ban all abortion. Balbek stated, “New life is God given and must be protected at all cost – even at the expense of the expendable mother.” Jeff was very happy about the new laws promoting the status of men over women.

Jeff realized he always deserved more respect. Other People needed to follow his suggestions. Women should be more attentive and subordinate. Jeff loved to bang women (that was his only pleasure in life) so why shouldn’t they be more accommodating? Balbek made it happen. Balbek was on television bragging about his affairs with women. He said women were drawn to his magnetic charm. He could do whatever he wanted. Women submitted willingly because he was a celebrity — a celebrity with balls.

Jeff worshiped Balbek and the changes he promoted. Balbek gave a weekly sermon on national TV. It became the highest grossing program in the nation. Balbek opened Step-up camps for orphans and “poor” children so they could learn proper etiquette and good working habits. Step-up led to Helping Hands to put the children and the nation’s unemployed back to work … in factories and mines … in kitchens and bathrooms. The economy boomed, stimulated by low-cost labor. Jeff  joined the Orange Guard. He was paid well to enforce laws that protected corporate entities from unruly masses and worker dissent. He was respected and well armed – he didn’t have to press too hard for women to grant him sexual favors.

The stock market soared when Balbek declared, “Peace in the East.” The peace was enforced by newly conscripted troops made up of youth from Step-up camps. Members of the Orange Guard were ordered to keep the new troops in line. Jeff Sumak became an officer commanding a forsaken outpost in a mud hole on the side of a mountain. His life took a turn for the worse. His troops were ill equipped. Jeff’s requests for better weapons and basic necessities were never answered. He saw teenagers ripped apart by artillery and bombs. Jeff complained to higher ups about the deplorable conditions. After several months sending emails, he received an answer – he was taken to headquarters. Jeff was put in a room, in solitary confinement and abandoned. He was no longer of any use to Balbek. In his cell, Jeff began to suspect that Balbek was an invader, an alien sent to dismantle order and sanity – sent as an advance guard before the main invasion.

Balbek frowned. He peered through a one-way glass to inspect Jeff Sumak. The man was obviously disassembling. Jeff had been under Dr. Balbek’s care for more than a year. There was no improvement. Balbek knew Jeff had a personality disorder. He suspected his patient harbored multiple personalities. Jeff often called himself Balbek, the boss who changed the world.

Jeff stared at a reflection of himself. He no longer believed he was a powerful dictator or an alien invader … now, Jeff believed he was a psychiatrist – Dr. Balbek. The real Jeff Sumak lost himself; or perhaps, he never existed.

balbek

Discord

“I met Michael Robinet one year before the onset of the global Crisis. It was the best year of my life. It was the only year worth remembering. The Crisis destroyed everything else. I thought love dried up years ago like a desiccated corpse. At my age something as precious as love seemed impossible. I’m seventy-five, active and healthy; but still seventy-five. Mike is sixty, a relative juvenile compared to me. He is athletic and very beautiful. I am not! He is also good natured and protective; but no one could protect any of us from the Crisis. I am Doctor Lydia Thornwall and I am responsible… responsible for everything!”

Lydia Thornwall was a neuroscientist. She was studying the effects of aging on the brain, especially as it related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The work was very intense and she needed a break so she took a Virtual Trip to the Retro Club where she could get a jolt of brain-boost.

The Club was a neon amusement park. It brought back memories of a wild period when she explored the parameters of sex and drugs. At the time she told herself it was an analytical investigation, but with age she knew she was just having fun. Now, she was the oldest person in the Club. She still reveled in the culture of youth. She could flip back in time and experience the thrills of abandonment to prurient desires. Her recent discovery of a new brain-gene could wait awhile longer. She needed to experience a wave of ecstasy. She met Michael at the roundabout on the second floor.

The night poured into Lydia like a flood of Lysergic Acid. The walls melted and she awoke cradled in the arms of Michael Robinet. Love burrowed into her psyche like a velvet hummingbird probing a Venus Flytrap. That night, Lydia felt a fortress of solitude crumbling from within. The Venus Flytrap was deflowered and Lydia broke free from the prison of time. From that moment, Lydia was bound to Michael.

She returned to her laboratory on clouds of scented bouquets. She also had an added gift: the solution to the diseases of old-age, a way to activate the new brain-gene.

The political debate proceeded in the pavilion at Onstate University not far from the hospital lab where Lydia Thornwall worked on her new formula. Politics went viral on the internet like thousands of newly engineered viruses. Video Screens exploded with profanity. No one was certain if the back-alley talk was due to a viral infection or due to political maneuvering. Lydia lost interest, but she couldn’t avoid the talk. Computers were always on. There were whispered innuendos about spies —  no one felt safe. There were accidents set off by exploding phones adding to the paranoia. Discord was everywhere.

Lydia hid beneath her desk trying to work on the new formula. She longed for Michael to help her through the current crisis. The man on TV yelled at Lydia and called her an ugly, old whore. She bit her lip determined to complete the formula. The TV man was somehow connected to the numbers. She wondered if he had access to her information. A loud speaker shook the room with a reminder for Dr. Lydia Thornwall. Her next client arrived and was waiting in the Green Room.

He said his name was Satan and he wanted to make a deal. Lydia didn’t believe in the supernatural or in religious dogma, besides deals with Satan always ended badly. The man was likely suffering from late onset Schizophrenia. He babbled like a politician.

Heads were spinning. The election was a battleground fought over oil rights, military might, and locker room etiquette. Surrogates gushed with praise for their powerful bosses, condoning everything that dripped like grease from the mouths of their leaders. Clandestine contracts were signed in corporate backrooms, souls were bartered and sold. Money greased the wheels of political power.

It meant nothing to Lydia. She was a devoted scientist trying to make the world a better place. “Help the children,” she whispered, “help the old and frail.”

She signed a contract with Michael on the night of her deflowering. The rain fell like quicksilver from a cobalt sky. It was magical; but, unfortunately, it was caused by global warming. Lydia sighed and pursued her work. She dismissed Satan who seemed to devolve into a curious Bonobo Chimpanzee sitting in the corner of her lab.

“Curious,” she thought, “the way things change.” It was, indeed, very odd. Reality appeared to shift and warp. Layers of perception were superimposed over one another like virtual dreams, worlds within worlds.

As she worked, she pondered recent discoveries in Quantum Physics. They found the “God Particle” as hypothesized over fifty years ago. They smashed atoms to find the particle. It was a major discovery.

Dr. Thornwall was also looking for a particle, part of the human genome. She knew the brain-gene existed and now she needed to expose it. If her calculations were correct the gene she sought would cure the disease of old age and unlock the potential for immortality.

The politician was having a bad day. He never should have signed the contract. His wishes were all granted: money, power, women and sex; everything – he was a major celebrity… but, he realized too late, there is always a price to pay.

Hatecore music was yelling over the loud speakers and there were riots in the streets. Storm troopers marched through the city wearing orange berets and yelling obscenities against women. A new day was dawning. Politics were blamed for the ensuing violence; but political enmity was only one factor. Dr. Lydia Thornwall was successful. She exposed the brain-gene and there were unexpected consequences: once exposed, the gene became dominant. It was more than Dr. Thornwall anticipated; not a cure, but a disease: a link to psychosis that came to be known as Satan’s Spark. The Spark went viral.

Lydia had a room in the psychiatric ward at Resurrection Hospital. She suffered a nervous breakdown brought on by exhaustion. No information was known about Lydia — one night she just turned up at the emergency room. No one knew where she came from or what she did. Michael Robinet worked as an orderly and he was very kind to Lydia. Michael was a guardian angel.

discord

 

Loop

Jimmy Standish kept repeating… his life moved forward in time, but his mind was like a video loop. Specific events were like a trigger or the replay button on a DVR.

He found himself standing in a field in Alepo surrounded by bomb craters and crashed drones.

He was at the breakfast table with Ruth and the kids. Charlie had a snake. Jenny screamed.

He worked as a garbage man. Everyday was the same. There would never be an end to garbage.

Jimmy prayed for the video loop to end. He prayed for the return of the Messiah who was long overdue.

A computer screen rattled off the numbers that substantiated life. Jimmy was aware of the tons of garbage that were hauled everyday from one place to another. He was aware of the numbers that comprised daily routines. Surveys were mandatory. Robo callers asked questions that had to be answered under penalty of law.

Jimmy Standish was strapped into a dentist chair. A machine forced open his mouth. Standard procedure. Injections, clamps, and water boarding were all standard procedure. The Dentist was dressed like a clown with a red slash for a mouth and a meat cleaver instead of a hand. The Dentist was activated by Artificial Intelligence. The Hygienist was a mannequin who provided a distraction by jabbering about foreign policy. It was election season. The digital screens constantly flashed images of world events and loops of starving children.

Dentist & Hygienist have a debate:

D: “Teeth are riddled with invaders. I’m going to cut through the crap and build a protective wall.”

H: “Not so fast. Your walls are not safe. Some cases have been reported as deplorable!”

D: “No, No, No! My walls appeal to everyone because my practice is sacrosanct. I’m the only answer!”

H: “I have experience in this matter and I’m tired of your bull!”

Jimmy kept stepping back to earlier events. He was constantly surrounded by a war torn landscape. He saw corpses decaying in the heat. The dead came back, rose up like zombies to fight again and again, but zombies don’t exist… these corpses were robots. Modern warfare was automated.

Jimmy’s world was a tape loop, repeating over and over. Money kept the mechanism oiled and functioning. Advertising was everywhere. He watched Big Guns on Virtual Screens hyping products. Everyone was seduced by images of youth and beauty, wealth and happiness. Ruth and the kids wanted everything and there was never enough. Jimmy saw the world through a distorted lens, everything was garbage.

The war never left him. Why were all the others killed?

He remembered they came back to life. The war was automated.

He wondered why his family was alive. Were they robots also? He had to kill them to prove they weren’t robots, but killing was against the law except during war. Jimmy was breaking down. His programming was unraveling. There was no one to turn to and nowhere to go.

Ruth pressed the button to reset Jimmy Standish. She was very happy with her companion. The whole family was happy.

loop